Money

Five No-Brainer Ways to Spend Less At Your Friend's Wedding

It's summer -- the season of one of America's most expensive rituals: weddings. 

Romance and life-long commitments aside, wedding guests make a financial investment each year that pits them between saving for retirement and shelling out hard-earned cash for other people's nuptials. According to 2014 data, couples typically spend between $19,833 and $33,055. 

The High Cost of Weddings

Here's why you might want to rethink your next wedding :)

Posted by ATTN: on Friday, July 3, 2015

According to the American Express Spending & Tracker Survey, wedding guests spend an average of $673 per wedding, a 14 percent increase from 2014 and nearly twice as much as the 2012 average.

As ATTN: reported in April, airfare costs $225 for the average wedding. Another $170 is doled out for hotel reservations, $116 in dining costs, and nearly $100 in dressing for the event. Guests tend to purchase gifts, spending roughly $106 on that. Nearly 75 percent of respondents described destination weddings as too expensive, but a quarter of brides and grooms choose to have destination weddings regardless. Many couples go this route to keep attendance to a minimum and cut down on ceremony costs. According to The Knot, about half of the people invited to destination weddings actually show up.

To help wedding guests plan for the summer of love, ATTN: gathered four ways to save significant pennies on attending weddings. 

  1. Set a budget. Limit what you spend on your friends and family. Because we all need boundaries, it's important to set some financial ones. For instance, if you expect to celebrate at a bachelor or bachelorette party, consider how much to spend and what kind of gift you expect to bring to the event before you show up that day.  
     
  2. Reconsider how you gift. Although a 2013 American Express survey says that people spend $179 on a close family member’s gift, $119 on a close friend’s, $114 on a relative’s, $79 on a friend’s, and $66 on a coworker’s; it is more than OK to give a gift valued at less. If you do, consider what the couple are registered for online and check out if there are options closer to $50 or less. You can also give a group gift and try stretching your dollar or give the future married duo some cash, which they often prefer. According to an American Express survey in April, about half of engaged couples in the U.S. prefer cash. It might be handy for their honeymoon fund, too. 
     
  3. Make a vacation out of it. If your friends or family want to say 'I do' at some exotic locale, it might be on the more expensive end, but it is also an opportunity to vacation. Plan your travel early in advance and look for ways to consolidate or lessen costs. You can try splitting a hotel room or Airbnb with friends, share a taxi or rideshare, or come up with other ways to travel together. Ask around. Often, airlines offer group deal on flights and some couples reserve hotel blocks with discounts for guests. Check with the soon-to-be-bride or groom about what they suggest for their big day. 
     
  4. Wear a fashion staple. Little black dress, suit and tie—whatever you are into—figure out the best outfit for you and recycle it. You might already have something in your closet, or you can factor a new look into your budget. Borrowing from a friend can also help you. 
     
  5. Remember the power of 'no.' You can respectfully decline a wedding, or any of the activities that come with it, including the engagement party, bachelor or bachelorette party, or wedding day. Couples understand. Don't worry or feel bad about it. There are other ways to show you care after they marry.